Students can be pretty stressed out these days so it is a challenge for teachers to help them to get the most out of their learning environment and help them to overcome any fatigue.
The current generation of students are sometimes referred to collectively as Generation M, with the M standing for media multi-taskers. Modern students are particularly adept at dealing with multiple stimuli and think nothing of having the TV on, whilst being on the phone and at the same time poring over some revision notes. The current generation of youth are true disciples of the digital world and generally want instant gratification when it comes to their electronic gadgets and also when it comes to learning. The environment that they are so comfortable in outside of the classroom makes them a very different teaching proposition than their predecessors and for many of them a pen and pencil are only objects that they use in a classroom. Visual images and social networking are part and parcel of how many students are wired for modern life and this is the challenge facing teachers, who have to be able to find the right way to engage with their students in order to overcome any potential learning fatigue.
Any learning task has to be approached with a good level of enthusiasm and energy if the information being relayed is going to sink in and be of benefit to the student. Teachers therefore need to embrace and recognize the way that today’s students think and feel and try to find ways of engaging them in lively debate, using modern communication methods that they are familiar with.
A good example of this could be if the teacher asks the student to conduct a survey on a particular topic and then having gathered the information, to use the data to produce a report that forms part of their coursework. Whilst data and opinions are still gathered by using traditional paper questionnaires that are filled in by the student whilst asking the interviewee the questions, there are now other ways of obtaining the same information which is required but in a way that is more likely to engage a modern student. Gathering that very same data online and using social media to collect opinions is much more likely to be met with a more enthusiastic approach to the task by a student who is comfortable working in this way, and will almost certainly eliminate any potential learning fatigue.
Latest teaching methods
If a teacher wants to ensure that their students are fully engaged in the learning process and hold their interest then they need to embrace the latest teaching methods. Continuous dictation and writing on a blackboard can quickly lead to boredom and result in students losing interest in virtually no time at all. Whilst textbooks have a specific purpose, many students now see them as boring when compared to viewing that same information through digital media and maybe even online learning. Innovative teaching methods are the way forward for fully engaging students and will help overcome any possible learning fatigue.
Teachers and the course designers who recognize the changes that have occurred in the way we are taught and retain information will be rewarded with students who approach their work with enthusiasm.
Paige Burton is an education researcher and analyst. Her articles mainly appear on student and education blogs where she enjoys supporting students through sharing her research. Visit the home learning courses online link for more details and ideas.